Harmony House is about the kids
A YEAR after opening, Hervey Bay’s Harmony House is still being kept busy with families from Maryborough and Bundaberg also using its services.
The family contact centre is the only one in the Wide Bay and has been in high demand since its doors opened in December 2008.
The Hervey Bay co-ordinator, who cannot be named because of confidentiality, said the six local staff would welcome an outreach of their services in Maryborough and Bundaberg.
She said it would also be ideal if services could be expanded to include longer supervised parental visits on weekends and if more financial assistance could be awarded by the Federal Government.
Harmony House provides a place where children can go without having to witness parental conflict. Clients are generally parents who cannot agree on a pick up point for their child and have come to a legal agreement.
Children with divorced or separated parents can visit the centre to spend time with their non-residential parent. That means that just because couples have split due to problems such as domestic violence and/or drugs they do not lose contact with their kids.
Before the opening, Hervey Bay had been identified as an area in need of a centre due to the high number of single parents.
Client numbers have been continuing to increase since it started with weekends booked solid and back-to-back two-hour supervised visits.
The centre will be sitting tight for another round of funding to be announced mid-2010. Until then, Harmony House is welcoming donations of toys, books, arts and craft, while an artist is also being sought to paint a creative display on a wall.
Although most parents using the service are referred to Harmony House by solicitors and through family courts, those who are not can make an appointment by calling 4124 1681 or can visit the www.scfcc.org.au/.
Harmony House, which is funded to service 270 clients, is owned and operated by the Sunshine Coast Family Contact Centre.
“The centre is set up in a bright child-friendly decor to immediately bring the focus of contact back to the children’s needs,” the co-ordinator said. “The facilities provided ensure that the families can have quality family time, doing normal family activities whilst in an out-of-home setting.”